Bill Cassidy, a U.S. Senator and physician, said all leaders in the federal executive, legislature and judiciary should be subjected to cognitive tests as they age, and claimed they should undergo this evaluation before the “rapid decline” in the eighties.
The 64-year-old Republican from Louisiana told Axios in an on-camera interview on HBO that he was not calling any government leaders in particular.
“It’s usually noticeable,” the gastroenterologist said. “So anyone in a position of responsibility who might be on that slope is a concern. And I say this as a doctor.’
Cassidy added, “I’ve been told that there have been senators in the past who were senile at the end of their Senate terms.”
“I’ve heard that was true for senators from both sides.”
Many leaders are approaching or already in their 80s, which Cassidy says is the time frame for when these cognitive tests should be taken.
Some of the top leaders in the U.S. government right now are senior citizens — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 81, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, 70, and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.
President Joe Biden, who is 78, has been receiving increasing questions from conservatives about his mental fitness to serve in the highest government position.
Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a physician, said leaders in all three branches of government should undergo cognitive testing before “deteriorating rapidly” in their 80s.
“It’s usually noticeable… and I say this as a doctor,” the gastroenterologist said in an Axios on HBO interview with Mike Allen (left). “I’ve been told there have been senators in the past who were senile at the end of their senate terms.”
Cassidy said he wasn’t talking about anyone in particular or calling out one party – but gaffe-prone President Joe Biden has come under criticism from conservatives over his mental fitness
Cassidy said “of course” it’s reasonable to require Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and executive leaders to submit an annual cognitive evaluation.
“We all have a sacred responsibility to the people of the United States,” said Cassidy, Mike Allen of Axios.
“It’s not about me,” he continued. It’s about my ability to serve the people.”
When it comes to the Supreme Court, the most senior judge is Clarence Thomas, a Conservative who was sworn to his post in 1991, 73 and the most senior member by age is Liberal judge Stephen Breyer, 83.
Since the Supreme Court is a life appointment, judges can remain on the court until their death if they wish.
Such was the case with liberal judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in court in September 2020 at the age of 87. This caused much controversy as the GOP majority Senate was able to confirm a third Supreme Court choice for then-President Donald Trump before he was replaced by Biden.
Judge Amy Comey Barrett, Trump’s third and final pick, replaced the oldest member of the court, becoming the youngest at age 49.
Conservatives have questioned Biden’s mental capabilities and have expressed concerns about conspiracies that keep the president out of the public eye and avoid reporters because he is being monitored by his escorts.
The senior Supreme Court judge is Liberal Stephen Breyer, 83, (left). On the right is the late Liberal Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in court in September 2020 at the age of 87
Since taking office on January 20, 2021, Biden has conducted just 10 one-on-one media interviews. This is in stark contrast to the 113 interviews Barack Obama completed in his first year as president and the 50 interviews Trump conducted.
Former President Trump, now 75, has repeatedly boasted that he “passed” a mental cognitive test he took in the second year of his presidency.
While campaigning against Biden in the summer of 2020, Trump began to question the gaffe-prone candidate’s mental fitness — suggesting he would also take the Montreal Cognitive Assessment.
The 10-minute test is intended to detect mild cognitive impairment, such as early dementia.